Phu Cat AB - The Base

The base was located approximately 120 miles North of  Cam Ranh Bay AB and 20 miles northwest of the city of Qui Nhon just off Route 1. It lay in a 10-mile wide valley which stretched northwest from the South China Sea to the Central Highland mountains. With the exception of the lowlands which extend to the north and southeast, these mountains were on all sides of the base and range from three to six miles from the base perimeter. The lowland area was primarily devoted to the production of rice. The higher ground upon which the base was situated was surrounded by rice paddies and rolling terrain covered with dense underbrush and trees. A small portion of the southern perimeter was bordered by the Song Dap Da River and a portion of the northern perimeter by the Song La Vi River. The main north-south national railroad borders the south and east perimeters of the base. The railroad also separated the base from the Republic of Korea (ROK ) 1st Tiger Division, 1st Infantry Regiment, camp to the east. Prior to being secured by combined US and ROK forces during Operation Pershing in March 1966, the area had been a Viet Cong training center.

Photo Below: Capt Sullivan and a patrol of Security Police.

This base was chosen to be a test program Safeside, to determine if Security Police could defend a base without major assistance from other branches of the service. The unit provided perimeter security, combat patrols, and used heavy weapons such as 50 cal machine guns, mortars. etc. Combat patrols resulted in the death/capture of Viet Cong on several occasions.

Photo Below: These are three generations of VC that we captured attempting to set an explosive device on the railroad tracks on base property (Grandfather, Father, 17 year old son). We turned them over to the Vietnamese Army Intelligence where they reportedly "died during interrogation".   


Over it's lifetime, three Security Police units were assigned to Phu Cat. Usually when these changes occurred, all personnel remained, just the unit name (or number) was changed. It's a military thing!  Phu Cat AB was the home of the  12th, 37th, and the 1040th (Safeside). Safeside was the one exception, they rotated in and out together.

Photos and caption courtesy of Bruce Pritchett  

Page 2: The Base

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